Falls within nursing homes present extremely hazardous health risks to residents. Nearly 1,800 nursing home residents die each year from fall-related injuries. Traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures are the number one and two injuries from falls in nursing home patients over age 65. Many falls occur in understaffed nursing homes where inattention (or sadly, indifference) forces weak or impaired residents to attempt to get out of bed or onto a toilet unassisted, often resulting in a slip and fall accident.
Nursing Home Fall Statistics
- An average 100-bed nursing home typically reports 100 to 200 falls each year, with many more unreported, according to the CDC.
- 50-75% of 1.5 million of the US’ nursing home residents experience at least one fall each year.
- 35% of fall injuries occur in residents who cannot walk.
- Environmental factors and hazards in nursing homes are responsible for 16% to 27% of all falls among residents.
Those who have a loved one living in a nursing facility should inquire about the home’s fall intervention or fall assessment program. A thorough, active plan should be enforced to protect all residents, especially those deemed as fall risks. Fall assessments should be performed within 24 hours of a resident’s arrival and are required by law. Falls frequently occur because residents attempt to use the toilet by themselves after ringing for assistance and receiving no response. Motion-detector alarms, low bed heights, and protective mats near beds and toilets can all help to minimize falls and related injuries.
Friends or family members should discuss, in detail, fall intervention measures with facility management. If possible, visit and observe these measures and the actions of staff members with other patients. Do not hesitate to discuss concerns over inattention or neglect with management or to file a complaint with the appropriate agency if your loved one (or other residents) is not receiving sufficient attention to his/her needs.